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Open letter to the blind

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Main Forum' started by bwilson4web, Apr 15, 2008.

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  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    The average USA pedestrian fatality rate from 1994-1999 was 5,335/year. Hybrid electric vehicles first showed up in 2000 and looking at 2001-2006, the average rate has been 4,813/year. Nationwide there has been a significant increase in hybrid electric vehicles but the averages are lower. In 2006 there were 4,784 pedestrian fatalities. Anyone looking at cause and effect would wonder why hybrids have not caused more pedestrian fatalities.

    In California, a state with a large percentage of hybrids, the numbers have been and remain modest for 2002-2006. Only California bicyclists have suffered a significant increase in 2006 but that could be simply people trying to save gas forgetting that on a bicycle they are invisible to traffic.

    Hybrid owners tend to be more interested in saving fuel and often drive at slower speeds. If you check various car forums, you can easily find gas-only drivers complaining about "slow Prius" or other hybrid drivers. Speed kills and especially around pedestrians.

    Hybrid drivers noticed early on that their cars are often not heard and take extra care in parking lots and places with pedestrians. Putting a noise maker on hybrids encourages the same complacency of today's noisy car drivers who drive as if their engine noise means they have the right-of-way and pedestrians should get out of the way. This simply returns us to the 5,300 pedestrian fatalities per year of the 1990s or today's louder car drivers who assume they will be heard and pedestrians should get out of the way.

    There is a serious problem of too many pedestrian and bicyclist accidents per year. But to think 'sound alone' will solve the problem aborts a serious analysis and effective solutions. The last sound you may hear is the faux engine noise of a hybrid driver who believes you will get out of their way . . . like the noisy car drivers of today.

    Bob Wilson
  2. rpiereck

    rpiereck Regenerator

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    Here you go, so they can read it:

    [​IMG]

    Print it, and raise the bumps with a Bic pen from behind.
  3. rufaro

    rufaro WeePoo, Gen II

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  4. sugar land dave

    sugar land dave Member

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    Bob,

    Respectfully, I disagree that 5000 pedestrian and bike deaths is a serious problem. With 325 million in the country, I am amazed the number killed is not higher. Now being accidentally killed by medical errors is a problem..... about 150,000 a year accidently killed.
  5. Danny

    Danny Admin/Founder Staff Member

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  6. ny biker

    ny biker New Member

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    Sorry but that is ridiculous. Cyclists don't "forget they are invisible to traffic" and quite frankly cyclists are not invisible. Some accidents are caused by cyclists but plenty of accidents are caused by drivers who fail to yield the right of way, break the law by passing too closely or just plain take their eyes off the road. Add in the fact that many police officers don't actually know the laws as they apply to cyclists and don't get statements from cyclists who have been in accidents because they are either on their way to the hospital in an ambulance or they are dead, and in many cases cyclists are blamed when they are really not at fault.
  7. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    the government has decided to finance a study on hybrids and EV's to determine if legislation "requiring" them to be more noisier is necessary. another "excellent" way to spend money we dont have...

    wonder what the world will sound like in 10 years when most of the cars on the road make little or no noise?
  8. cyberprius

    cyberprius Mtn Bikes don't need foglights

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    Never mind, I was feeling cranky....
  9. ny biker

    ny biker New Member

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    It makes me angry too, but it doesn't help anyone to toss off a statement saying that all car-bicycle accidents are caused by forgetful cyclists. Just like some car-pedestrian accidents are the fault of the pedestrian, but you can't assume that either party is always at fault.
  10. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Let's see, ZERO deaths / injuries so far ... relating to silent EV's OR hybrids.

    versus:

    An average 50,000 alcohol related DEATHS anually.

    Hmmm ... (checking priorities) ... oh yea ... sounds right to me :wacko:

    If you can't solve child abuse, domestic violence, graft, Oil based economy corruption, education, health insurance issues, you might as well regulate people trying to save gas. Nice.

    .
  11. slair

    slair Ubër Senior Member

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    noise maker? how? Put baseball cards in the rims? I prefer silence over anything. Its not my fault people don't look for oncoming cars down aisle ways while walking in between cars in lots.
  12. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    UCR: Hybrid Cars Are Harder to Hear


    If the hybrid has to be 40% closer, we can use the well known distance square law to calculate how much extra audio energy is needed:
    V1*(d*d) = V2*((.6*d)*(.6*d))
    V1 = .36*V2
    A "40% closer" reads as if the ordinary vehicle is at 100 ft, the hybrid needs to be 40% closer or 60 ft. away. The distance factors out and the we get about a factor of 3 difference in sound level. Perhaps the problem is not that the 320,000 hybrids sold last year were too quiet but rather the 50,000 blind need hearing aids.

    Hearing aids with a 4-5 dB amplification for a factor of 3 gain is easily within the range of the very affordable models. Better still, hearing aids will extend the distance the blind will hear approaching traffic. If tuned to tire noise, the 100,000 hearing aids, one for each ear, could detect all vehicles at greater distances while bringing hybrids within the range of the professor's reference.

    Bob Wilson
  13. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Nicely put.

    I downloaded the detailed 2006 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data (the source of the traffic fatality data), and looked for blind pedestrian traffic deaths.

    In 2006 (most recent year available), there were six blind pedestrian traffic deaths, out of a total of 4784 pedestrian traffic deaths.

    For the record, no hybrids were involved. The cars that killed the six blind pedestrians in 2006 were:

    Pontiac Grand Prix
    Ford Excursion
    Buick Roadmaster
    GMC Safari
    Ford Ranger
    GMC Jimmy
    Honda Accord

    Apparently one of the pedestrians was hit by two cars.

    Yeah, it's a small sample, but no, there is no evidence of a particular problem with hybrids.

    In all fairness, as these are deaths only, probably the cars were traveling faster than typical Prius stealth speed anyway. So, for pedestrian deaths, this may be a non-issue. But I can't even guess where you could get equivalent data on pedestrian injuries.

    I would also like to point out, with regard to the research in the prior posts, that a) this was not a live road trial, this was based on audio recordings, and it's an untested assumption that findings based on that particular setup would match findings based on live trials on the road, b) vehicles vary enormously in terms of the noise they produce at low speed, and I saw no mention of either selecting a random sample of non-hybrid vehicles or even that there is variation in the noise levels produced by cars, and c) without knowing the speed at which cars involved in pedestrian accidents are traveling, there is no way to translate this shorter audible warning time into a meaningful estimate of potential excess deaths. It's an untested assumption that less audible cars lead to more deaths. Look at the list above: most of those vehicles are big, noisy beasts. As far as the data on blind pedestrian deaths go, assuming prior years looked like the 2006 data, it's not clear that audibility plays any role whatsoever.

    Don't get me wrong. The researcher appears to be a reasonable person and is planning on actual field tests. And this is an issue that may potentially require correction. But it's way premature to impose such a change at this point.
  14. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    My apologies, it was late but I made an error in my dB calcuations. The actual value is .4-.5 dB gain. Even if the professor meant 40% closer, the 1/.16 value power difference, is still less than a 1 dB gain.


    But I do appreciate the detailed database search. I found the database somewhat challenging to deal with.

    Bob Wilson
  15. ForTheGlory

    ForTheGlory New Member

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    I challenge one of the basic assumptions of this study. They forced the vehicles to drive at 5 mph, in order to ensure that the hybrid's gas engine doesn't kick in.

    -Would a car traveling at 5 mph really be able to hit someone by accident?
    -Shouldn't the driver have plenty of reaction time and stopping distance at that speed?
    -Would it even hurt if you were hit by a car traveling at 5 mph?
    -How many people actually drive through parking lots at 5 mph?
  16. dixiepeep

    dixiepeep New Member

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    I am more terrified of some of the tiny women I have seen driving Hummers. Most of them can't drive the huge thing and watching them park is very intertaining. I say this being a woman of petite size. My car may not make noise but i know how to drive and park it and I do watch for pedestrians and cyclists. It is all about paying attention!!!!!!!!!!
  17. aaf709

    aaf709 Ravenpaw of ThunderClan

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    What's interesting is that I once took a blind church member home and he really liked the sounds, and the lack of, the car made. He even wanted the window down so he could hear what it sounded like when we stopped. He also liked the sounds the NAV system made. He hoped his wife would get a hybrid when they get another car.
  18. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Cyclists may be safer assuming they're invisible, but that's only because far too many ignorant and blind people have driver's licenses. By the way, some cyclists are armed. Watch where the @#!! you're going.
  19. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    It would help me a lot if you could include the specific accident reports or help me find them? The reason is I've been in conversation with some of the blind advocates and having the facts and data is very helpful.

    On another area, I really did screw up the math on my dB calculations:
    • 40% of the distance closer -> 7.96 dB gain needed, 6.25 gain
    • 60% of the distance closer -> 4.44 dB gain needed, 2.78 gain
    Bob Wilson
  20. Tenebre

    Tenebre Custom User Title

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    How many injuries were there? In my opinion, injuries are important too. Serious injuries can result in the victim suffering for the rest of his/her life.
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